Study Shows Cigarette Butts Prevent Rust

Need another reason to quit smoking? Scientists have discovered that the chemicals found in used cigarette butts can prevent corrosion on steel pipes.

The research, led by Jun Zhao at Xi'an Jiaotong University's School of Energy and Power Engineering and funded by China's state oil firm China National Petroleum Corp., led to the published paper: "Cigarette Butts and Their Application in Corrosion Inhibition for N80 Steel at 90 °C in a Hydrochloric Acid Solution," which appeared in the American Chemical Society's bi-weekly journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research on March 26, 2010.

According to the journal, Cigarette butts, one of the most ubiquitous forms of garbage in the world, need to be recycled because their toxicity can kill saltwater and freshwater fish. In this study, the cigarette butts are applied as corrosion inhibitors for N80 steel at 90 °C in hydrochloric acid. Weight loss and electrochemical techniques are used to evaluate the corrosion inhibitive effect of cigarette butt water extracts. Results show that the inhibition efficiencies arrive at 94.6% and 91.7% in 10% and 15% (wt %) HCl solution, respectively, by adding 5% (wt %) inhibitor. In 20% HCl solution, they show a maximum inhibition efficiency of 88.4% by adding 10% inhibitor.

Makes me glad I kicked the habit one year, five months, 8 days and 12 hours ago. . . but who's counting?

Traci Purdum
Senior Digital Editor